zucchini boats with tomato sauce

Zucchini Boats Vegetarian Recipe with Paneer {Gluten Free, Grain Free}

This zucchini boats vegetarian recipe with crumbled paneer – Indian cottage cheese (use vegan cottage cheese or scrambled tofu), spices and lemon is full of flavours, gluten-free and low carb. Serve it as a main with some tomato sauce and herbed salsa or serve it as a delectable starter – whichever way you serve it, this is a proper winner!

Zucchini are healthy!

Zucchini (Courgette) belongs to the family of cucumbers and melons.

It is from the summer squash family. This is a vegetable that I love dearly, both for its taste and its versatility. My pantry is never without courgettes!

And they are so good for your health too! Naturally low in calories, courgettes are a good source of fibre and are full of micronutrients.

I love making this simple courgette curry with crunchy lentils and moong lentils with courgette and fresh coconut dish.

Did you know that zucchini / courgettes are made up of 95% water! What an excellent way to rehydrate, especially in the hot summer months!

Read more about the goodness of courgettes here.


You will love this recipe for these reasons

  • The recipe requires less than 10 ingredients and these are all store cupboard ingredients!
  • It may sound complicated, but it is not! From start to finish this dish is ready in under 45 minutes!
  • For being so simple, this dish delivers such great taste! You will especially love the tang from the lemon juice.
  • This dish is flexible and versatile. You can serve it in different ways (see serving suggestions below)
  • Your child will find the shape interesting and love eating it.
  • The dish is healthy! It is not only gluten free, but also low on carb. (see nutrition chart below)
  • This dish has no onion and garlic.
What is your favourite Zucchini / Courgette Recipe? Do let me know in the comments. Would love to hear from you! 

Zucchini Boats Vegetarian Recipe Ingredients

vegetarian courgette boats ingredients
  • Zucchini / Courgettes: (of course!) I have used the smaller, light green ones for this recipe. You may use the regular (longer) ones and that will work well. You will need to adjust the quantity of stuffing if you do so (check notes below)
  • Paneer: Use fresh paneer. Grate it or crumble it with your fingers.
  • Zucchini flesh: This will add volume to the stuffing. Chop it up finely.
  • Ginger: We need fresh root ginger for this recipe. Grate it or crush it using a pestle and mortar.
  • Black pepper powder: Coarsely crushed – not too fine.
  • Lime juice: Is tangier than lemon juice. You may use lemon juice instead. In that case, do add more of it as per taste.

Step by Step instructions to make stuffed courgette boats recipe

  1. Wash and cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Using a sharp spoon or butter knife, scoop the flesh out gently. Be careful not to scoop too much out from the edges or poke holes in the skin. Finely chop the flesh and keep it aside. We will use this to make the stuffing – yay! a no-waste recipe☺️

2. In a large pan, bring some water (just enough to immerse the courgette halves) to boil. When the water begins to boil well, add salt. Add the courgettes to the water and boil (uncovered) and cook them for not more than 2 minutes.

Be careful at this stage. Set a timer, if need be. Over cooking the courgettes will make them limp and they will not be able to hold their shape nor the stuffing. We are boiling them for 2 reasons: 1) so that the salt seasons them and 2)to cut the cooking time in the oven.

courgette halves in water
courgette halves after they have boiled in salted water for 2 minutes

Drain the courgettes and set them aside.

3. To make the stuffing, heat oil in a pan. Add the chopped zucchini flesh and fry for about 30 seconds. Now add the spices and flavourings – salt, cumin powder, grated (or crushed) ginger and black pepper powder. Fry for another 30 seconds.

Add the paneer (grated or crumbled) and mix well, gently. Fry for a minute more. Add the lime juice, mix and take off the heat.

stuffing for zucchini
Paneer and zucchini flesh stuffing

4. Divide the stuffing into 12 equal (ish) portions.

portions of vegetarian stuffing for courgettes

5. Stuff each zucchini half with a portion of the stuffing.

stuffed zucchini boats ready for baking

6. Place them in a oven proof dish and bake for 10 minutes at 200 C. Keep an eye on them – they can burn easily. They should be in the oven till the courgettes are soft and the paneer begins to change its colour to light brown.

7. Turn off the oven and let the zucchini boats rest in the hot oven for 5 minutes.


Tips and Notes to make the perfect zucchini boats

My girls love this dish and so it gets made on repeat on our household!

While this recipe is so easy and failproof, here are few things that you should take care of for best outcomes.

  • Choose courgettes that are fresh, firm and tender. Since this recipe requires the courgettes to hold their shape when boiled and baked, it is important to have good quality courgettes.
  • I have used the small courgettes for this recipe. If you want to use the regular longer courgettes, then you will need more stuffing (of course!).
  • Alternatively, if you are using the long courgettes, use 3 courgettes (instead of 6 that I have used in this recipe). I think in that case the stuffing will be enough without having to make more of it.
  • When boiling the courgette halves, do not over cook them. We just want them to be soft and half cooked – that’s all. So do keep a timer set for 2 minutes and cook them in rapid rolling boiling water.
  • Make sure that the paneer is fresh. Paneer that has kept for too long can become sour.
Have you made this recipe? Do share with me on social media. Would love to see your creation 😍

Nutrition Values (approximate) of stuffed zucchini vegetarian recipe

Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Servings: 6
Amount per serving 
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9.6g12%
Saturated Fat 0.3g1%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 75mg3%
Total Carbohydrate 7.8g3%
Dietary Fiber 1.9g7%
Total Sugars 2.9g 
Protein 8.2g 
Vitamin D 0mcg0%
Calcium 26mg2%
Iron 1mg3%
Potassium 441mg9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet.

How to serve stuffed zucchini boats?

  • Make it a delicious vegetarian main meal with some homemade tomato sauce and herbed salsa or chimichurri on the side.
baked courgette boats with garnish
  • As a sensational starter on its own.
  • Tea time snack or finger food

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can this recipe be made Vegan?

Absolutely! Just replace the paneer with tofu. or with vegan cottage cheese. The rest of the process if the same.

Is this recipe Low carb?

Indeed! Each serving has less than 8 grams of carbohydrates. See detailed nutrition chart above

Can I feed this dish to my toddler?

Of course you can! Your child will love the shape, the taste and the texture!

I will not recommend this for children younger than 18 months, though. When feeding this to you toddler, cut each boat into 3 – 4 pieces.

Engage you child in a fun conversation about the shape and sing related rhymes and songs. Enjoy!

Recipe Card

Zucchini Boats Vegetarian Recipe with Paneer {Gluten free, Grain free}

Difficulty:BeginnerPrep time: 20 minutesCook + Baking time: 20 minutesRest time: 5 minutesTotal time: 45 minutesServings:6 servingsCalories:141 kcal Best Season:Summer


This zucchini boats vegetarian recipe with crumbled paneer – Indian cottage cheese (use vegan cottage cheese or scrambled tofu), spices and lemon is full of flavours, gluten-free and low carb. Serve it as a main with some tomato sauce and herbed salsa or serve it as a delectable starter – whichever way you serve it, this is a proper winner!


    For the courgette “boats”

  • For the stuffing


  1. Set a large pot with water to boil. The water should be enough to immerse the courgette halves comfortably. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.
  2. While the water is coming to a rolling boil, let us prepare the courgettes.
  3. Prepare the “boats” and get the oven ready.

  4. Wash and cut each courgette into half lengthwise.
  5. With a spoon or butter knife, gently scoop out the pulp from each half.
    Make sure that you do not accidently poke holes in the skin of the courgette while doing so. Courgettes are tender vegetables and you will need to do this step carefully so that the “boats” hold their shape.

    Set the scooped flesh aside. Set the 12 courgette “boats” / halves aside.
  6. By this time the water in the pot should have begun to boil. Put the courgette halves in the boiling water and cook them for 2 minutes.
    (set a timer and do not cook the courgettes for more than 2 minutes.)

    We want the courgettes to be soft and slightly cooked at this stage. They will cook fully in the oven. So do not over cook at this stage.

    Carefully take the courgette halves out from the water and keep them aside to cool down a bit.
  7. Pre heat the oven to 200 C. Grease a baking tray with a few drops of oil and keep ready.
  8. Make the stuffing

  9. While the courgette halves are cooling down and the oven id preheating, let us make the delicious stuffing.
  10. Take the paneer out of its wrapper and rinse it. Cut into large chunks and then crumble each chunk with your hands. Keep the crumbled paneer aside.

    You may, if you want a smoother texture, grate the paneer. However, I prefer to just crumble it with my fingers as, in this dish, I like the texture of crumbled paneer more than that of grated paneer.
  11. Chop the courgette flesh (that you scooped out) finely – to match the size and texture of the crumbled paneer. Set it aside.
  12. Grate or finely mince the ginger. Keep aside.
  13. Squeeze out the juice from lime and keep ready.
  14. Put a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. Add 3 teaspoons of oil.
  15. Add the courgette flesh and fry for about 30 seconds.
  16. Add the salt, grated (or minced) ginger, cumin powder, and crushed pepper. Fry for another 30 seconds.
  17. Add the crumbled paneer. Mix well so that all the spices and flavours mix with each other evenly. Let this fry for 1 minute.
  18. Add the juice of lime, mix. The stuffing is ready.
  19. Now let us assemble the “boats” and cook them!

  20. Divide the stuffing into 12 equal (ish) parts. Spread each portion evenly on the courgette halves.

    Make sure to keep all the stuffing inside the rim of the “boat” so that it does not spill. We do not want burnt bits of the filling.
  21. The oven should have heated up to 200 C by this time. Place each “boat” on the greased baking tray.
  22. Bake for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them. We want the courgettes to be cooked through and the filling to get a light brown colour on the top.

    What we do not want, is for the filling to burn.
  23. Turn the oven off and let the courgettes rest in the hot oven for 5 minutes.
  24. Serve these delicious stuffed courgette “boats” on their own as a starter or a snack. You could serve them as main on a bed of tomato sauce and with some herbed salsa. Enjoy!


  • 1. Which courgettes to use?: I have use the smaller, light green variety. You may use the longer ones. Just bear in mind that you will either have to increase the quantity of the stuffing or use less number of courgettes than what is mentioned in this recipe.
  • 2. Paneer: Use fresh paneer. You can either grate it or crumble it with your fingers.
  • 3. Want to make it vegan?: Just replace the paneer with tofu or vegan cottage cheese. Voila!
  • 4. Wish to add onion and garlic?: This recipe had no onion and no garlic. You can however add them if you like.
Keywords:vegetarian zucchini boats, stuffed courgettes

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